The Ongoing Innovation of Alaïa

January 27, 2021

Evolution is a gradual and successive process in the natural world. Within the world of Azzedine Alaïa, evolution of innovation and workmanship underpinned all his creations. It characterised his revolutionary and inventive approach to knitwear, a pillar of the Maison. From the early 80s onward, he sculpted streamlined and sensual silhouettes with couture expertise, embellishing the creations with engineered techniques and innovative yarns. Among his recurring themes were openwork details, 3D effects, flounces and textured patterns – all subtly revealing the body.

Today, evolving Monsieur Alaïa’s Couture savoir-faire and ongoing experimentation is an inspiration in and of itself.

Knits play an important part in the Fall Winter 21 collection, which revisits the duality of strength and sensuality at the heart of Alaïa. Combining engineered techniques and artisanal details, knits have been innovatively developed, boasting precision motifs, dimensional reliefs and gradient transparencies. Pieces are at once structured and supple, stretching to slip into, then sculpting to the body, revealing, protecting and enhancing it. Classic shapes are newly imbued with comfort, from streamlined knit dresses that suggest soft armour to a delicate dress accented with seamless gauzy panels or to ribbed sweaters retracing the signature basque. The waist is accentuated throughout, whether as integrated support in the knit pieces or with sleek Corset belts to emphasize the season’s couture-level workmanship. The Alaïa heritage marches on.

This dress features three-dimensional pleats crafted from crepe silk, perforated with tiny holes, echoing the iconic Alaïa laser-cut. Volume is created on the skirt with a crinoline ribbon inserted into the hem. The neckline is emphasised by three curving bands of frills that follow the contours of the body. The basque of the skirt and the bodice of the dress feature integrated tiny knit frills in the same crepe silk, enhancing the delicate feel of the dress.

An intricate construction emphasises the sensuality of the female form. Innovative and ergonomic sun-ray pleats shape the hips and bust, with moulded body pin-tucks and graphic herringbone lines defining the torso. This long dress, integrally knitted, is open at the skirt with sheer inserts in crepe silk yarn.

This knit dress combines lace and leather, drawing reference from the dark romance of Goya’s paintings. It is engineered with lace strips and bands of holes as a new and unique hand-weaving technique of knotting the leather, while its corded viscose yarn gives sharp definition to the lace, evoking hand crochet.

The iconic Alaïa laser-cut has been scaled up and reworked to wrap the hem of this dress, also appearing as a graphic lattice on sleeves. The dress is engineered into pleats that enhance the geometric cut-out details. Front and back necklines remain graphic with a strong square shape and a precise deep V.

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